Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting the pelvic organs - the bladder, the uterus and the rectum.  Childbirth, surgery, repetitive loading and hormones can all contribute to weakened tissues in the pelvic floor which can cause one or more of the organs to descend into the vaginal canal which is called Pelvic Organ Prolapse.

Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse:

  • Cystocele: the bladder pushes against the front wall of the vagina
  • Urethrocele: the urethra pushes against the front wall of the vagina
  • Urethrocystocele: the urethra and bladder are both pushing against the front wall of the vagina
  • Rectocele: the rectum pushes against the back wall of the vagina
  • Enterocele: the small intestines push against the wall of the vagina through the top-front or top-back 
  • Uterine: the uterus comes down into the vagina (the cervix sits much lower than normal)
  • Vaginal vault: the top of the vagina comes down (like a sock that is turned inside out) after a hysterectomy

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Common Symptoms:

  • pelvic, vaginal or rectal pressure
  • tampon slipping out
  • feeling a bulge at the opening of the vagina
  • urinary incontinence (stress or urgency)
  • difficulty emptying bladder
  • urine retention
  • fecal incontinence
  • difficulty emptying bowel
  • constipation
  • pelvic girdle pain
  • abdominal pain
  • back pain
  • painful intercourse
  • lack of sexual sensation
  • pressure/pain that increases with long periods of standing

If you identify with any of these symptoms during your pregnancy or in motherhood please visit the Find A Physio page and make an appointment with a pelvic floor physiotherapist in your area.